After a long wait, The 100 is finally back and telling a story that's both brand new and just a little familiar.
After the destruction of the last bit of livable Earth in season five, all the remaining humans got on a ship and went to sleep for over 100 years until a new home could be found. Just like we did in the very first episode ever, we got to watch the survivors set foot somewhere new, but what happened next was not quite the same as what happened the first time.
"Those parallels are inescapable," executive producer Jason Rothenberg told E! News. "Of course it is a group of people, many of whom are the same people, touching down in a world that again, they know nothing about, having to figure out how to survive on that world and encountering people that are there before them. So it does have echoes to season one for sure, but of course they're all so different now as a result of the experiences that we've seen them undergo over the last five seasons."
Rothenberg, and by extension season six, is fascinated to see how these heroes, who've been through and done some seriously dark things, handle this new world.
"They're not the sort of naive kid running around wild when the door opens," he says. "They are fully hardened, battle-hardened warriors that are kin of systematically moving through this world, trying to discover how to survive on it and what are the threats, can this be our new home, etc."
That was certainly true in tonight's premiere, as Clarke led an exploratory team of adults who used to be juvenile delinquents, instead of a random assortment of current juvenile delinquents, onto the ground for the first time in over a hundred years. Unfortunately it didn't go well.
The new planet (actually a moon) seemed pretty great when they first stepped off the ship, but quickly things turned bad, as a swarm of insects drove the whole group into a really fun radiation fence, which killed Shaw and begged the first question: Why is there a radiation fence? Actually, it was the second question, because the first question was: What's with all the insects? (Anyone else get some serious Hunger Games/Catching Fire vibes?)
Shaw had, of course, just been happy with Raven on the ship, and had a moment of confrontation with Clarke over everything that happened in season five, so his death particularly stung in that moment, especially as Raven was back in space fighting with Abby over meds for Kane.
As the crew on the ground mourned Shaw's death, they also happened upon a little town and went exploring. Clarke found a picture book with a fun warning to run away from the eclipse, right as Emori started to go insane and attack Murphy with a knife. Soooo this place isn't paradise after all.
Here's what else Jason Rothenberg could tell us about what comes next.
With a New Planet Comes New Mythology
There's a whole lot going on in this new world, including what looks to be a whole civilization of people who even built a castle, but also had to put up those radiation fences.
"One of the things that I always say is the most fun for me is world creation, and that does include obviously the mythology of the people that were there before them," Rothenberg tells us. "In many ways, we will unpack that story this season in a huge way."
"Obviously in season one we were looking through the keyhole of our heroes, only seeing a small part of the world. And gradually over the course of the seasons, we expanded their view and expanded the audience's view and began to incorporate the perspective of the grounder, and then the perspective of the people of Mount Weather, and then we begin to understand that maybe our characters weren't so perfect, and weren't the heroes necessarily, yet we love them. I think similarly here we're going to tell the story—and probably tell it a little more quickly, because I don't intend for this thing to go on for 10 seasons—that that keyhole view that we have going into the season with this new world that our characters encounter, is going to have to expand quickly if they're going to survive because they don't know anything."
Those 100-some years of sleeping did not erase everything that happened last season, and many issues obviously still remain among the survivors. But for how long?
"Everybody's mad at Clarke because she betrayed them to McCreary and healed his army and then Murphy got shot and she turned Raven and Shaw into McCreary, so they're mad at her, obviously lots of people are still mad at Octavia for what she did...all of those relationship dynamics will play out, and then the question is, can they get to a place of forgiveness? Can they work their stuff out? Will they have a chance?"
It sounds like they kind of will.
"For sure, there's much more time to breathe in the first third of the season than we've seen before," Rothenberg says, partly because this world is any unlike they've ever had to make themselves a part of before. They're not trying to force their way in anymore, or being held anywhere against their will, and they actually have to be peaceful about how they go about this, so they've got some time and some reasons not to want to kill each other. (We'll discuss all of that more thoroughly after episode two.)
Speaking of episode two, that's where the show will start to deal a little more with Shaw's death, which Rothenberg says was a death that was not necessarily a creative choice, and had to do with Jordan Bolger getting another gig.
"I'm mourning the loss of that character and that relationship as much or more probably than anybody, and I feel like ultimately, it was a decision that was made for lots of reasons, some of which were beyond our control creatively," Rothenberg says. "Unfortunately that's the way it is. Sometimes when you're—to pat our own backs, I mean, we are so good at casting, our casting directors are so good that they find these people...that are at the beginning of their careers, and they're snatched up by these other shows. And unfortunately, it's not the kind of show, as I've said before, that characters, you know, get another job in Detroit...nobody moves away peacefully. It's not that kind of world. It's only one way off the show."
Join us right here again next week to talk more about what on earth we can expect in the rest of season six!
The 100 airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.